You finally did it. You secured an internship during the school year or summer. The excitement you feel when you get the call or email saying that you made it is overwhelming. All the hard work in class, long hours of studying, and preparation for interviews has paid off. Congrats!
The next thing that might come to mind is “Now what?” and after that, feelings of stress or anxiety might take the place of the original excitement you felt moments before. When I first got the email about my internship, this is exactly what happened to me. I began to think about how the internship could lead to a job offer, what I was going to wear, how I would fit in with the other employees and interns, how COVID-19 would impact the internship, etc. The list goes on and on.
Here are some tips I used during my internship at The Bonadio Group that might help you feel better about all of the questions you have right now.
- Just Relax and Be Yourself
The biggest piece of advice I have is to stay true to yourself and don’t change the way you act around your co-workers compared to normal. Yes, be polite and make sure to keep conversations work appropriate, but if you go out of your way to act differently people will notice. When talking to one of the principals during my internship, Jared (who is awesome), he said he could tell almost right away if someone during an interview or internship wasn’t being real. It will benefit you greatly to use this advice so then your co-workers are getting to know you as yourself.
- Set Goals
Write down each of the major things you want to accomplish and learn by the end of your internship. Use the notes app on your phone, a sticky note, or a piece of paper, whatever works works best for you. By writing these down, you can look at them to see what to focus on or improve during your time there.
- Communication is Key
Although COVID-19 made the work environment a bit different than usual, I was still able to interact a decent amount with my team. I really enjoyed talking with Kait, Jared, Grace, and the other people on the commercial audit team (who are also amazing). They were always very helpful in answering any questions I had about my work, the job in general, and future interests. I was impressed by the amount of time the principals and my other co-workers took to make sure I fully understood what I was working on, especially since I was at the intern level. Don’t be afraid to ask lots of questions! It shows that you are interested in what you are being taught and that you want to improve.
- Always Have a Notebook
I love to keep track of what I’m working on by using a notebook or notepad. I write down any questions I have along the way and am able to reference it when asking the questions. It’s also extremely helpful when you are being given instructions or tasks to complete. Once I finished working on a task, I would cross it off my list and feel like I accomplished something. Besides this, I wrote down procedures to follow for the specific tasks so then I didn’t have to ask the same questions.
- Understand The Process
As difficult as it may be, try not to put an obscene amount of pressure on yourself to always be the best and have the highest level of performance compared to the other interns. You are probably thinking this will help you secure a job or next internship with the company, but those are not the only factors that come into consideration when they make those decisions. While performance does play a key role in the decision making process, there are also considerations about your people skills and whether or not you would be a good fit for the company. In a way, you are also interviewing the company to see if you want to work there. Ask yourself if you enjoy the work, the environment, the people you work with, etc. At the end of your time there, even if you are unable to obtain a job or internship offer for the future, or if you realize that isn’t the place for you, the experience you had is valuable and there are many more opportunities for you.
Although I wish COVID-19 hadn’t impacted my internship, I think it was handled well and I had an amazing experience overall. While I was nervous at first, over time I became more comfortable interacting with my team and with the work in general. I hope these tips will help you during your internship!